the one that got away
I was at a dinner this past week with a group of angel investors. A really great group of people. Most of them were entrepreneurs before they became investors so their outlook is interesting.
We went around the table and introduced ourselves, talked a bit about what we are interested in and then were to talk about the one that got away. The investment that we should not have passed on.
I am not one to dwell on the past. I have been asked in interviews the classic question which is “if you could change something about your past or have done something differently what would that be?” I am so not a fan of this question because who knows where my head was at then. Why I made the decision I did. I just know that at that time it made sense. Just like investments that I choose not to participate in or opt not to meet with there is a reason for it. Timing is everything.
What I talked about instead was the investment that was a huge failure and how much I learned from the experience. That is significant. You learn a lot more about your failures than you do about your successes. I think about those failures much more than the successes. Successes tend to be the perfect storm. A great entrepreneur, a great idea, a great group of investors, a great team and perfect timing. I know of many companies who have had incredible success and I am not sure how some of them actually succeeded.
When companies fail there is tons to learn. I learn so much each time I make a mistake. I get better from those missteps. I can look back and think about why I made that investment, what I missed, why I chose to ignore the red flag, what could have been done to perhaps help the company go in a different direction. More than likely it is about recognizing more and that brings value to me and hopefully my investments.